5 Best Hangboards for Climbing & How to Choose One
Neesha Basnyat – (Updated) Dec. 29th, 2021
Every experienced climber’s training should include the use of a climbing hangboard. Hangboards allow climbers to strengthen their grip and finger strength without ever having to leave their home. The list of best hangboards on the market include several popular favorites from brands like Trango and Metolius, a wooden hangboard from So iLL, and two other boards that offer rock climbing training. All of the hangboard options listed below grant rock climbers the ability to practice several hand and finger holds that will keep them busy for hours.
|Trango||Rock Prodigy Training Center||Best Overall Hangboard||$139.95*||4.7/5.0||Learn More|
|Metolius||Metolius Project||Best Value Hangboard||$54.95*||4.0/5.0||Learn More|
|SoiLL Holds||Beastmaker 1000||Best Wooden Hangboard||$139*||4.0/5.0||Learn More|
|Atomik||Atomik Yaniro Power||Most Difficult Hangboard||$100*||3.7/5.0||Learn More|
|Transgression & Progression||Progression||Most Innovative Hangboard||$224*||3.7/5.0||Learn More|
Best Overall Hangboard
Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center
Price: $139.95 | Material: Polyester Resin
4.75 out of 5.0 StarsLearn More
The Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center is one of the most diverse hangboards to ever hit the market, and it’s no surprise since it was developed by the popular climbing coaches Mark and Michael Anderson. Systematic in its progression, the Rock Prodigy offers climbers a workout regimen that increases in difficulty as their skills progress. The climbing board contains a variety of holds and grips that can be used in various ways. The board also features a unique two piece design that allows it to be mounted to fit any climbers body size and shape. Beginners and expert climbers alike will find that the Trango Rock Prodigy Training Center fits their skill set and training needs.
The only downside to the Trango board is that it requires an extensive installation. However, once it is installed, the Rock Prodigy Training Center is sure to offer a variety of climbers a strenuous workout every single day.
- Great progress board
- Variety of holds and grips
- Versatile two-piece design to fit any climber’s body
- Extensive installation process
- Two-piece design requires more space to mount than other hangboards
Best Value Hangboard
Price: $54.95 | Material: Polyester Resin
4.0 out of 5.0 StarsLearn More
One of the most compact and economically sound options on the market, the Metolius Project gives climbers a workout and not their wallets. The Project’s compact design also allows for it to be hung in a variety of areas where other boards wouldn’t be able to fit, and makes it one of the best portable hangboards ever manufactured. Climbers will also find that the rock climbing hangboard offers a nice progression of grips and holds.
The Metolius Project’s compact design does decrease the amount of grips and holds the board can offer and affects the placement of these holds. Climbers who have tested the Project report that most of the board’s useful holds are in the middle of the board. However, for $55, there isn’t a better hangboard on the market.
- Best value
- Versatile design – can be hung in many different areas
- Portable and great for traveling
- Fewer holds compared to other boards
- Many useful holds are in the middle of the board which can be inconvenient
Best Wooden Hangboard
SoiLL Holds Beastmaker 1000
Price: $139.95 | Material: Wood
4.0 out of 5.0 StarsLearn More
The best wooden hangboard on this list is produced by SoiLL Holds and is a compromise of their BeastMaster 2000 hangboard. The Beastmaster 1000 offers a challenging and helpful training program for beginners who are looking to progress quickly. Manufactured from wood with a very soft texture, the BeastMaster is easy on a climber’s skin, but still provides enough texture to produce various grips and holds. The climbing board can be used by climbers working on 5.8 all the way to 5.12.
The downfall of the BeastMaster 1000 is its size and price. At $139.95, the Beastmaster requires climbers to make a solid investment to improve their training equipment. The length of the Beastmaster also inhibits its installation in tight and compact areas.
- Wood is easier on the skin
- A popular choice that’s well-liked by many climbers
- Various holds and grips continue to offer a challenge even to climbers well into hangboard training
- Long hangboard means it needs more space to be installed
Most Difficult Hangboard
Atomik Yaniro Power
Price: $100 | Material: Polyester Resin
3.75 out of 5 StarsLearn More
Experienced and strong climbers who are hard pressed to find a climbing board that can continually challenge them will want to check out the Atomik Yaniro Power. One of the best hangboards on the market geared towards seasoned climbers, the Yaniro Power provides a series of difficult holds only the most seasoned climbers will be able to take advantage of.
The Atomik Yaniro Power climbing board’s strength is also its weakness. The difficulty of the board reserves it for only experienced climbers. Beginners will hardly be able to utilize the board, for almost all of its holds are geared towards seasoned hangboarders.
- Good value for an advanced hangboard
- One of the only hangboards made just for advanced climbers
- Unable to be used by any beginner or moderate climbers
Most Innovative Hangboard
Transgression & Progression
Price: $224.95 | Material: Polyurethane
3.75 out of 5 StarsLearn More
The only hangboard on the market that has a doctoral thesis attached to its creation, Progression by Eva Lopez is not just a piece of equipment. The climbing board also comes with a training DVD created by Eva Lopez as well. The hangboard design which only features edges is somewhat unorthodox, but also supported by Eva Lopez’s doctoral thesis. Her findings proved that grip strength was not affected by the load of a hold, but by the type of grip used during that hold. Therefore, the Progression hangboard and training program focuses on the mastery of a variety of grip types including half-crimp, open hand, open crimp, and others in between.
The clear downfall of the Progression system, not including the learning curve attached to figuring out how to train with it, is its price. At $224.95, the Progression system is one of the most expensive rock climbing training boards on the market.
- Very well-researched
- Comes with a training DVD for steady progression
- Can get better at many different types of grips and smaller holds
- One of the most expensive hangboards on the market
- Steep learning curve to use the hangboard
How to choose a Hangboard
First consider your skill level and goals. If you are new to climbing, you shouldn’t start to hangboard for risk of injury. Even several months into climbing can be too soon; build up significant finger and tendon strength before trying a hangboard workout. However, after you’ve built up this baseline strength, regular hangboard workouts after adequate warm-up can actually help prevent injury.
The baseline you start from is important because it will help inform which hangboard is right for you. Some hangboards are more difficult than others. For example, some have very shallow crimps or two-finger or mono hangs that would be hard for anyone who hasn’t put in significant time on a hangboard already. Hangboarding can help with more than just crimping, too.
Some hangboards have jugs, slopers, and flat edges. If your goals are to build up crimp strength specifically, then you don’t necessarily need a hangboard with additional holds. However, if your goal is to improve your grip strength on all kinds of holds, seeking out a hangboard with varied holds or that allows for a variety of different grip types is key.
Materials and Textures: Polyester Resin & Wooden Hangboards
Materials and textures can create different hangboarding experiences as well.
Only the Progression hangboard, listed here is made of polyurethane. Known for being lighter and more durable than polyester resin, polyurethane is the newer plastic that many climbing holds are being made out of. A polyurethane hangboard may be a good option for traveling. However, it can be slightly more abrasive than polyester resin.
Polyester Resin Hangboards
Polyester Resin is the most common type of material and it’s the type of plastic that most climbing holds are made out of. Because of this, it often has the most variety in holds. If you want to practice more than just crimps, hangboards with different kinds of holds will probably be made out of polyester resin.
It’s a durable plastic with the downside that it can be heavy. However, it is better than polyurethane and wood when it comes to hotter conditions, so if you’re planning on mounting your hangboard outside or live in a hot climate, this is a great option.
These hangboards are bit more slippery, but they encourage open-hand grips which help preserve strength and reduce risk of tendon injury.
Gripping a wooden hangboard with a smooth surface is a lot easier on your skin as well. Often climbers who have the grip strength to hold onto wooden holds and are preparing for certain climbs will train on them or use tension boards in order to preserve their skin.
However, wooden holds are harder to form and thus usually cost more and have a simpler build. If you’re a beginner, material shouldn’t matter too much, but it’s important to keep in mind considering where you might be training and for what reason.
Another consideration is price. Hangboards range from around $50 to $250. Depending on your budget, you might opt for a board on the lower end of that range. However, keep in mind that, just like most climbing gear, buying a hangboard is an investment, and one that’ll pay off in the long run.
Hangboards are a great option for climbers that don’t have access to a rock wall that are still looking to train. These boards can supplement occasionally for actual climbs. However, there is no continued supplement for actually climbing. Overall, hangboards are a great way to improve strength and grip. Though they don’t allow climbers to develop technique.
10 Minute Hangboard Exercise
You have one minute to complete each task, and the rest of the time within that minute should be used to rest.
Minute 1: 15 second hang, jug
Minute 2: 1 pull-up, sloper
Minute 3: 10 second hang, medium edge
Minute 4: 10 second hang with 3 shrugs, pocket
Minute 5: 20 second hang with 2 pull-ups, large edge
Minute 6: 10 second hang, sloper AND
5 knee raises, pocket
Minute 7: 4 pull-ups, large edge
Minute 8: 10 second hang, medium edge
Minute 9: 3 pull-ups, jug
Minute 10: hang as long as you can, sloper
This workout is in a pretty typical format and offers a variety of different workouts (hangs, shrugs, pull-ups, and knee-ups) on different holds. It complicates the workout as you’ll have to keep glancing back at the written routine, but also allows for easy modification (changing a pull-up to a hang or the medium edge to a large edge, for example). Small modifications are great when finding the routine that works for your strength and skill level on different holds.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hangboards
Are hangboards worth it?
Hangboards are a great option for climbers that don’t have access to a rock wall but are still looking to train. These boards can help build strength for climbers who can’t actually get on the wall and climb. However, there is no continued supplement for rock climbing. Overall, hangboards are a great way to improve strength and grip, but don’t help climbers develop the full-body technique needed to help make harder ascents.
How do I choose a hangboard?
Choosing the right hangboard for you comes down to your experience, strength, and needs. Are you an experienced climber or just getting into the sport? How strong is your grip strength? Are you comfortable with a wide variety of holds? These are all questions climbers seeking to purchase a hangboard should be asking before checkout.
Where do you hang hangboards?
Most hangboards are hung above a doorway. However, they can also be hung anywhere else that allows for sturdy installation and range of motion.
How do you train on a hangboard?
- Purchase a hangboard suited to your needs (not for beginners)
- Install and mount your hangboard so that you can reach it without jumping
- Warm up with 20-30 minutes of easy activity
- Hang through a progression on various holds and grips
- Modify the time that you hang and rest as you progress
- Recover with light stretching
Should beginners hangboard?
Those starting out should avoid hangboards until they’ve built up their finger strength by climbing at the gym or outdoors. Anyone using a hangboard should go according to their experience and strength levels. Trying to hang on advanced and difficult holds could lead to injury. Beginners should never try any holds they are inexperienced in without proper instruction.
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